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This project was made possible by generous funding from Walmart.
The Convergence Dialogue on Pathways to Better Jobs seeks to address the needs of millions of job seekers – low- to moderate-income earners who are currently employed, under-employed, or long-term unemployed. Convergence’s goal is to find ways to better connect workers with appropriate opportunities to grow their skills and qualifications, and to navigate the on- and off-ramps that will build economic mobility and financial security for their future.
While life has generally settled into a new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic did produce widespread economic collapse, exposing and exacerbating many pre-existing challenges and barriers that low- and moderate-income workers face to achieving financial security and upward mobility.
As of April 2022, 7.9% of American workers were discouraged, underemployed, or unemployed (U6). And, we continue to see disparate impacts in underserved populations. For instance, the unemployment rate for Black (7.3%) and Latino (4.9%) workers is higher compared to White (3.6%) workers.
Additionally, women suffered major setbacks, with 11 million women losing their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic and an additional 2.65 million leaving jobs due to caretaking demands or the inability to find accommodating employment. Alarmingly, over two years later, the women’s workforce participation rate has not recovered, and in fact, has decreased even further.
Percentage of individuals who started in a low-wage job in 2012 and did not move to a job with a median salary above the low-wage threshold in five years.
The women’s workforce participation rate has hit a record low since 1988.
Percentage of Black children whose parents are in the bottom decile of the national income distribution remain there as adults, compared with just 17% of White children.
Economic Mobility Project
The Convergence Dialogue on Pathways to Better Jobs brings together a diverse and influential group of stakeholders representing workers, workforce trainers, policymakers, employers, and post-secondary education providers of all types. This collaborative, problem-solving process is aimed at building trust and identifying and exploring areas of common ground to foster innovations that balance worker needs with those of employers.
The Pathways Dialogue represents a continuation, and evolution, of these discussions that will focus on two specific pathways that can lead to better jobs:
“Skills-based hiring can bolster workers with valuable workplace and lived experience that often contributes more to success on the job than traditional pedigree-focused hiring criteria. It is also a way to fill critical employment gaps while providing much-needed pathways to upward economic mobility.”
Read more from Convergence Dialogue on Pathways to Better Jobs participants, Deeneaus Polk and Jenna Shrove, on how skills-based hiring can lend a benefit to both employers and employees.
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